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THE SPANISH CHAMPION." The warrior bow'd his crested head, and tamed
his heart of fire, And sued ? the haughty king to free his long
imprisoned sire : 3 “I bring thee here my fortress keys, I bring
my captive train, I pledge thee faith, my liege, my lord !—oh,
break my father's chain ! ” “Rise, rise! even now thy father comes, a
ransom'd man this day ; Mount thy good horse, and thou and I will
meet him on his way.” Then lightly rose that loyal son, and bounded
on his steed, And urged, as if with lance in hand, the
charger's foamy speed. And lo! from far, as on they pressed, there
came a glittering band, With one that 'midst them stately rode, as a
leader in the land. “Now haste, Bernardo, haste, for there in very
truth is he, The father whom thy faithful heart hath
yearned so long to see.” His dark eye flash'd, his proud breast heaved,
his cheeks' blood came and went ; He reached that grey-hair'd chieftain's side,
and then, dismounting, bent
A lowly knee to earth he bent, his father's
hand he took : What was there in its touch that all his fiery.
spirit shook ?
That hand was cold - a frozen thing - it
dropped from his like lead ; He look'd up to the face above—the face was
of the dead ! A plume waved o’er the noble brow—the brow
was fixed and white : He met at last his father's eyes, but in them
was no sight.
Up from the ground he sprang, and gazed, but who could paint that gaze ?"
?? They hush'd their very hearts that saw its
horror and amaze; They might have chained him as before that
stony form he stood, For the power was stricken from his arms, and
from his lips the blood.
“Father!” at length he murmured low, and
wept like childhood thenTalk not of grief till thou hast seen the tears
of warlike men ! He thought on all his glorious hopes, and all
his young renown; He flung the falchion from his side, and in the
dust sate down.
Then covering with his steel-gloved hands his
darkly mournful brow, “No more, there is no more,” he said, “ to lift
the sword for now; My king is false, my hope betray'd, my father
-oh! the worth, The glory, and the loveliness, are pass'd away
“I thought to stand where banners waved, my
sire, beside thee yet. I would that there our kindred blood on Spain's
free soil had met : Thou wouldst have known my spirit then. For
thee my fields were won; And thou håst perish'd in thy chains, as though
thou hadst no son!”
Then, starting from the ground once more, he
seiz'd the monarch's rein, Amidst the pale and wildered looks of all the
courtier train, And, with a fierce o'ermastering, the rearing
war-house led, And sternly set them face to face—the
king before the dead !
“ Came I not forth upon thy pledge, my father's
hand to kiss ? Be still and gaze thou on, false king, and tell
me what is this;
The voice, the glance, the heart I sought, give
answer, where are they? If thou wouldst clear thy perjured soul, send
life through this cold clay! “Into these glassy eyes put light—be still !
keep down thine ireBid these white lips a blessing speak—this
earth is not my sire! Give me back him for whom I strove, for whom
my blood was shed. Thou canst not-and, O king! his dust be
mountains on thy head ! He loosed the steed; his slack hand fell ; upon
the silent face He cast one long, deep, troubled look—then
turned from that sad place; His hope was crush'd, his after-fate untold in
martial strainHis banner led the spears no more amidst the
hills of Spain.
1 Champion, a hero, one who fights in 5 Liege, lord, a feudal superior; one
single combat for himself or for having vassals or liegemen. another.
6 The dead. In order to deceive the 2 Sued, begged, implored.
son, his father's dead body was 3 Long-imprisoned Šire. Don Sancho, placed on horseback by command Count Saldana of Spain, had been
of the king. kept in prison for many years by Paint that gaze, describe or tell the king. At length his son, exactly how he looked. Bernardo del Carpio, took up 8 Falchion, a short curved sword. arms to effect his release.
9 Perjurer, one who knowingly takes 4 Captive train, prisoners taken in a false oath.